Reading have a point on the board ladies and gentlemen! It’s a big relief, despite being only one point, however, and this is a big however, it really, really, really, should’ve been three.
We were 2-0 up and looking relatively comfortable. The first 10 minutes saw Blackburn come close twice, hitting the woodwork and seeing Liam Moore produce a stupendous goal line clearance.
Jon Dadi Bödvarsson took his goals very nicely, proving his worth as he so often does. Paul McShane gave away two, yes two second half penalties that Charlie Mulgrew dispatched. Sadly Reading could only crest half chances in the second half, and really looked like they could concede a third!
Looking ahead to our next fixture, it doesn’t get any easier. Villa Park is up next, a ground where Reading really don’t have a good record. There are a few reasons to be optimistic however.
Both Sone Aluko and Mo Barrow made their returns from injury away at Blackburn. It was a welcome relief to see Aluko back in the starting XI, not something that I thought I would be saying for large parts of last season. Reading’s most influential attacker was also named amongst the subs, and was quickly brought on after Blackburn equalised. Another couple of days training and he should be good to start at Villa Park.
Between the dismal defeat to Bolton, and the draw at Blackburn, Josh Sims signed on loan for the season, and his addition has been very well received. He made his debut at Blackburn, and quickly showed his physical ability, as well as solid footballing ability. His time will come I’m sure.
Another reason to be positive is a combination of low expectations, as well as that classic Reading thing of old to do – win an away game when not fancied at all. Much like they did two seasons back which will always be remembered as Joseph Mendes’ finest performance in a Reading shirt. Bristol City away last season, was another example of winning a game, when not given much hope.
It may just happen at Villa, who will be expected to win comfortably, just as they did last season. We can all hope for some Neil Warnock shithousery to frustrate and stifle Villa.
In that regard, I’m hoping, and also partly expecting Paul Clement to play with three central midfielders. I would start with the trio of Meyler, Bacuna and John Swift, with the hope of nullifying Villa’s midfield players. The rest of the team will just about pick itself.
Liam Kelly is likely to pay the consequences for his well below-par performances against Bolton and Blackburn. Tiago Ilori is very likely to play ahead of Paul McShane if he can prove his fitness.
So my predicted line-up is as follows;
GK: Vito Mannone
RB: Andy Yiadom
CB: Liam Moore
CB: Tiago Ilori
LB: Tyler Blackett
RM: Sone Aluko
CM: David Meyler
CM: Leandro Bacuna
LM: Mo Barrow
CAM: John Swift
ST: Jon Dadi Bödvarsson
Up the Biscuitmen!
Picture Credit: Reading FC